Bucks 116, Raptors 110 (OT) – Box

Hang on, I’m searching through this book called “Basketball School of Thoughts” and am trying to see what they say about the options when you’re down three with 32 seconds to go and the opposition has the ball. OK, just went through it and nowhere does it say that you should intentionally foul to make it a two-possession game. Are we tanking? I don’t know, are we? That decision by Jose Calderon (called a mistake by Triano) to foul Corey Maggette to basically ice the game for the Bucks made no literal or figurative sense. Triano says that the plan was to foul Bogut but there was obviously a massive communication breakdown there. Instead of forcing the Bucks to execute on offense after they had coughed it up twice and been bailed out by a rim-hugging three, the Raptors conceded the game at the FT line. I’ve seen crazy stuff happen in the NBA, but nothing quite like this. Best part, Jack and Devlin didn’t say a word.

I’ll fast-forward you to Act 5 of this play where the Raptors have hung with the Bucks (or is it the Bucks who hung with the Raptors?) to force the game into overtime after Bargnani missed a game-winning three on an excruciatingly bad play designed by Triano. The Bucks had showed no hesitancy in what they were all about in OT – Andrew Bogut. They had achieved success through the Bogut/Bargnani matchup in the first quarter, and they went back to the well. Three straight post-ups for 6 straight points. It finally dawned on Triano to switch Amir Johnson on the Australian and when he did, the result was two straight turnovers as Johnson did an excellent job of ball-denial.

Courtesy of some inspired defense and an anemic Buck offense, the Raptors tied the game on scores by Johnson and DeRozan, setting up the stage for heroism. Delfino’s drive then found Maggette who was wide open from three, and I’m thinking you got to take your chances with a 30% three-point shooter. Too bad God hates the Raptors. The ball bounced a couple times and rolled in gently, whilst waiving a middle finger and whispering a big f**k you to the Raptors bench. 10 straight losses. Rebuilding in full force. Lottery balls clanging so hard in my mind that it’s drowning out the Baby Einstein.

Let’s rewind to the final scene of Act 4, with the game tied the Bucks had the chance to win it. Delfino drove, was sealed off by Bargnani and then like the little punk that he is, flopped. No call, finally a decent decision by the refs who were awful all night. The Raptors got the ball back and drew up a “play” for Bargnani – a fadeaway three from the side which hit one of the exit signs, prompting me to recall the last time Triano drew up a last-second play that didn’t suck donkey balls. Nothing came to mind.

No loss is tough to swallow from this point out, in fact, bring them on in sheer force for all I care. This season’s over and it’s all about the incoming talent this summer and it all starts with the draft.

Amir Johnson with 24 points and 12 rebounds, a massive effort from an unlikely source of offense. He made up for DeMar DeRozan’s trying game where he looked to glance at his buddy Brandon Jennings on the bench every time he drove to the rim. Maybe he was nervous or something, maybe he just had a bad game, 5-14 for 11 points and three turnovers. With him bringing us low quality offense and Bargnani getting 23 points on 23 shots, it’s a miracle the Raptors were even in this game. They could have won it too if it weren’t for Ersan Ilyasova (9-10 FG, 25 points), the Turk and Johnson were checking each other most of the night and Triano didn’t feel like an adjustment needed to be made. Ilyasova’s shot-fakes, off-the-dribble game and ball movement were too much for Johnson to handle and he conceded wide open looks to the Buck. I felt that at some point the Raptors might want to try putting on someone like Wright or Weems on him, just so he wouldn’t get so open after one dribble. Didn’t happen.

On the other end, Scott Skiles had the 6’8″ Mbah a Moute on Bargnani who was neutralized neutered by him for the first half. Bargnani was a bit better in the second but nothing which would reflect that 4″ height advantage. He makes himself so easy to guard sometimes, so easy that it makes you want to break into his house, kidnap his hot girlfriend, send a video tape of her gagged and bound to a chair with a gun to her head with a note saying “Drive or I pull the trigger” (I just saw Disappearance of Alice Creed). That. That is the only thing that can get this guy to be aggressive and play like he cares.

The defensive effort in the first quarter was like a gay man in Iran – non-existent. The Bucks drove and coaxed the Raptors, who were just waking up, into fouls and on top they had Bogut going with 12 early points. No answer for the Aussie inside and no defense outside means giving up 32 points in the first quarter and being down 10. Way to want to break that 9-game slide, boys! The bench did the trick in the second, and Bayless was the spark and even Ajinca got busy hitting long jumpers. They brought us back and the halftime bench-scoring read 31-8 and the score was 57-55 Raptors. The only reason it wasn’t a five point lead was because Ilyasova seduced Johnson for a three-shot foul.

The bench disappeared in the second half, the Raptors got a whopping total of 4 points from the second unit as DeRozan, Bargnani and Johnson became more ball-dominant. The Bucks’ bench got a boost from Carlos Delfino and proceeded to shoot 69% in the third quarter. This brings us to Matt Devlin’s completely meaningless stat of the game, in the third quarter he drops this gem: “The Bucks are 1-5 in games decided by three points or less”. Who. F*****g. Cares.

Credit to the Raptors for hanging tough and not going away, they even had an 8 point lead after a couple defensive stops in the third quarter. The Bucks’ defense was pretty tight and they had a lot of strips/half-strips that disrupted the flow of the Raptors offense, and made life very difficult for DeRozan and anybody venturing into the paint. Maggette and the Bucks pressured the Raptors perimeter players into frustration and then pounded them going right at their bodies on the other end. Lose-lose situation. Triano spoke about the physical dominance of Maggette:

Physically, we couldn’t keep them in front of us. You look at guys like Maggette getting to the free throw line 10 times to score 29 points. It’s all on drives and him being able to get head and shoulders past our guys and either finishing or getting to the line. Again, strength is a little bit of an issue there but you got to be able to move your feet and keep guys in front of you and we didn’t do a very good job of that.

The Raptors had 9 steals and the Bucks had 6, which is not reflective of the defense played in this game. The Bucks shot 55% for the game and the Raptors were at 47%, the Bucks also had 14 more shots and hit 5 more threes (the Raptors only hit one). Add all these numbers together and you have the Raptors unable to contain the Bucks in a remotely consistent manner, and when they did manage to get, say, three stops in a row, the offense faltered because of either low-percentage shots (ahem, Bargnani) or the Bucks defense suffocating DeRozan and company’s weak drives. Jose Calderon had a strong second half, tried to carry the team and then ran out of gas like he often does. A key uncharacteristic-last-year-but-characteristic-this-year turnover hurt the Raptors as he got greedy in transition, can’t blame him, it’s rebuilding.

Final word goes to Ilyasova, it’s like he’s taking Hedo’s revenge. The second-round find by the Bucks was lighting Johnson up and I felt sorry for the Amir, because there is no way he should have been kept on him for any more than two possessions. You take your chances hoping a perimeter player like Bargnani cancels Ilyasova out, and Johnson does the same with Bogut. Instead, both of them lit the Raptors up. The streak is now at 10, up next the Raptors go on a trip: Minnesota (can’t wait to see Kevin Love), Indiana and Atlanta.

Can we hit 13? Yes. We. Can. Say it with me!

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  • Webcrawler89

    Yes. We. Can.


  • Rob

    “Amir Johnson on the Australian and when he did, the result was two straight turnovers as Johnson did an excellent job of ball-denial.”

    Too bad Amir could not do the same when he was matched up against Ilyasova all game lomg. Ilyasova was able to move, trick and do what ever he wanted with Amir and Amir looked like a lost boy on the defense.

    This is what I call a real talent and a player (Ilyasova) that can be a part of building a winning team and NOT Johnson.

    • tom

      Call me crazy, but I though Amir had a pretty good game…

    • Nilanka15

      Amir was a victim of a poor matchup design by Triano. The only thing sillier would’ve been asking Calderon to guard Bogut.

      Amir is a low post defender. Ilyasova isn’t a low-post player.

  • WhatWhat

    After calling a TO when the team was had a 5 on 4 and Calderon intentionally fouling like that, I’ve got to believe that Triano is tanking.

    Deebo had a crappy offensive game most of the night, but actually played great D. The Bucks did a fantastic job of playing him for the drive and taking charges. Growing pains.

    I’m so disappointed in Bargs, the guy just had a terrible game. And there’s a really good point in that Bargs and Amir probably should have switched their assignments for the night.

    • Milesboyer

      Those mistakes by Triano aren’t tanking, they’re just a representation of his coaching abilities.

  • Darien

    First – the raptors have been treated awfully by the refs for a long stretch now. There was a game against washington I think a while back where EVERY call was questionable and an Amir Johnson ft was done twice because??? ANyway, fuck the refs, but thats beside the point.

    I’ve defended Bargnani vehemently in the past but it’s over. He is never going to get where we need him to be and we need to trade him for picks or another player while GMs are still high on him or make him the 6th man or something because were just never going to be a serious contender with him at C. Too inconsistent, just never going to put it together.

    Triano has also proved himself to be the wrong coach for this team. Can Colangelo get Larry Brown on the phone fast enough? I say no. THat is what I also imagine Brown saying to COlangelo, but we need to try. We need that kind of pedigree behind the bench with the balls to develop this young team from the start and bench those who need benching.

    Finally, we can stop asking for wins. We are fourth in the lottery standings. It’s time to accept that we are bad and need kyrie irving or whatever ELITE talent we can get. Derozan is going to be ok, but hes not going to be enough. Ed Davis is going to be good. But we need more. Come on you sad sack Cavs, Wolves and Kings. Win some fucking games already. Colangelo has put us right back where we were before he was brought in. Some EotY.

    • Nilanka15

      It was pointed out the other day the Larry Brown loathes young players. He’s probably the only coach the Raptors don’t need.

      • Darien

        He might, but with a rebuilding team, you sorta… have to have young players? What is he expecting? Kobe to sign with us or something? He’s available so despite everything, we should still be trying his number.

  • Asdasd

    Great write up Arse. As always

  • I don’t hate the Raptors. I just want to see them get a high lottery pick.

    Oh wait. I’ve said too much.

  • KJP

    Terrible Coaching. How about the time out call with 26 seconds left in regulation when Raptors were 5v4 because Delfino was in the crowd?!?!

    I want a high lottery pick too, but it’s so hard to watch this team play now. Why can’t Amir play that way every game? That’s what I expected at the beginning of the year, the potential of having 3 players go for 20 on a regular basis. I was hoping Bags could learn how to rebound too. Boy was I way off

    • Milesboyer

      You’d have a better chance of teaching your 12yr. old dog to do backflips, than you would teaching Bargs how to rebound. So sad that his ceiling is 3 reb./game (the other 3 he gets I don’t count since they just fall into his lap).

  • Valit

    I witnessed last night game up close and personal, listening to the coaches and players and that game gave me a much better picture of why we are here. Some of the facts really surprised me:

    – The boys play hard, lots of intensity and everybody wanted to win the game; Dont talk about tanking to these guys, frequently was mentioned the idea that fans deserve a hard fight.

    – Triano was outcoached last night; He was all the time 1 step behind Skiles, reacted late to Bucks match-ups and seemed to lost the feel of the game at the end. It doesnt help when PJ goes into a useless panicky mode. English talks little but makes lots of sense.What I found surprising is the lack of adaptability, creativity on JT part. There is a plan and we stick to this even though the opponent changes strategy or ours doesnt work. Same time he’s riding players based on perceived quality and not on whomever is hot that particularly night. 2-3 times Calderon wanted to run something and he was shunned even though JT seemed to listen. BTW, there seems to be NOBODY on this team except Calderon that cares what plays work, what not and mostly they listened without no input whatsoever.

    – All of the team suffer from a severe form of ADD. They are told 1 thing and by the time they are on the court they forget or are totally confused. Mentally they could not react when Bucks changed their strategy for that particular play. I numbered 5 times when Calderon yelled how to change because Bucks were changing and everybody seemed dazed and confused. He was trying to help, even over help and as a result sometimes his man became open. I wish they could stop the play and show these guys how to adapt because so far the tapes for sure do not work.

    – JT was overplaying Weems and Bargnani last night and didnt trust anybody else. I understand he doesnt have a 3 and Wright played badly last games but Weems was panting like a woman in labour by the 3rd quarter, his legs were gone; Bargnani is hurt no doubt about it, maybe more that everybody says. His physical condition is not great to start with but he got tired quickly, winced many times and wasnt assertive at all. I dont think he will ever be a leader but I’m sure he can be a very good 2nd wheel. What surprised me is his lack of technique when we talked about positioning and blocking. He should never play as a centre because he doesnt know how, nor was he trained for that. On the other hand, Bogut….omg

    – The game was lost by the guards ( 2-3) who allowed penetration after penetration. Bayless and Calderon were not too bad keeping their man in front..that is why JT played them together for a longer time than usual. He was upset by Weems and sometimes DD ability to contain. BTW for those who think Bayless can be a good PG, he should learn first to penetrate with the heads up.

    – Calderon is also not completely healthy, he got very tired in the 4th, and tried to do simple things rather than forced some issues. Doesnt help when the options are kinda limited. The idea of playing him without not practicing is taking his toll. He missed easy shots at the beginning and when he got the touch he had no more legs and committed turn overs.

    – Ajinca practiced quite a lot 1 hour before the game knocking down shots like crazy. I thought he was OK and could have been used more. Isnt he part of the rebuilding?..I dont know and I dont think anybody knows who is and who isnt.

    – I dont know what these guys did in the training camp but they look terrible regarding their stamina, their understanding on the court is very limited and all seems helter-skelter. Maybe that’s why you need a core of people for 3-4 years to get gelled together. I found again surprisingly the fact that we play much more selfish basketball than the Bucks who seemed to learn their lesson much, much better. is this called basketball IQ ?

    – As somebody said here, Ilyasova is the type of player we need to build around; the bunch of guys we want to build around are talent wise very limited and what scares me is that they dont seem to listen very much and/or liked to be coached.

    -My wife is a Bucks fan…our journey home was in total silence…love those raptors

    • minks77

      I know the feeling, my wife is a quality basketball fan. She just rolls her eyes at me and flips it to the Lakeshow.

    • KJ-B

      TRIANO SUCK!!! That would be answer to many of these questions… Not sure why Weems is in the game to take shots he barely makes at the end of the game and he hasn’t played in six weeks?

      Good on ‘Deebo’ denying Bogut the ball at the 1:00 mark of the 4th Q and boxing him out and ‘helping’ Amir get that rebound…if only he could bottle this defensive passion and truly take over this franchise!

  • 511

    So basically … are we tanking? … God hates the Raptors … lottery balls … excruciatingly bad play designed byTriano … donkey balls … bad game DeRozan … “drive or I pull the trigger” … rebuilding … Hedo’s revenge … streak at 10. Yup. Sounds like my team. Yes. We. Can.

  • onemanweave

    Yes. We CAN!

  • Imanari

    Bargnani bums me out because he’s so talented yet so flawed, the team is depressing as hell and I have no idea how we would fix it. I sure hope we somehow can get some winning basketball in Toronto, for I will always be a fan but I don’t want to be seen as a masochist.

    • Theswirsky

      this team isn’t going to get alot of wins this season. Which isn’t suprising. The biggest problem is they are sacrificing future wins in order to give guys minutes who aren’t deserving of, and/or earning them. While guys who are and do deserve them are being left behind.

  • jamesk

    Injured, Out: Barbosa, Evans, Klieza
    Injured, shouldn’t be playing: Barnagni,Calderon,Bayless,Weems,Johnson
    Healthy,should be in the D: Alibi, what’s his name

    Even though I haven’t seen a home win all year, and have sat through some pretty terrible performances, ATL, DET, PHI, I have nothing but respect for the profesionalism of these guys.
    Kick em while they’re down, speculate about the draft, are they tanking etc. Question the coaching, question the management, but I wouldn’t question the effort of this franchise to be at or near the top of this league or their ability to get there. Critics, you don’t know the half of what you’re talking about, and another thing, this team could still make the playoffs, and would if they were healthy.

    Is that, in itself, a bad strategy vs. drafting high? Absolutely not; even though it was herm edwards who said it, you play to win the game. And I watch and cheer hoping the same.

    Can You? Yes we can.

  • Balls of Steel

    Kidnap his girlfriend and pull the trigger. Listen, with a girl like that, the last thing I’d do is try to kill her ;). Besides, you can kidnap his girl, Tazer him on the testicles, hide the pasta sauce his mom made him or his bananas at halftime and it won’t mean a thing as far as motivating him to play defence. He is simply allergic to it. It didn’t take long for Skiles to exploit Bargs in overtime. By the time Triano switched, it was too late (not that Bargs could handle Ilyasova either). Either way, the road to the top 3 pick is well under way. I’m actually hoping for the team to continue the losing streak all the way to the Feb. 24 deadline so that management would have a clear understanding of who to really keep and who to trade away for tubes of Ben-Gay.

  • Statement

    Ersan Illyasova’s WP/48 last year = .155 (average is .100)
    Ersan Illyasova’s WP/48 this year = .134.

    This guy has played much better than Turk over the past 2 years and, quite frankly, is an above average NBA player.

  • Statement

    According to Wins Produced, Kevin Love is the most productive player in the entire FREAKIN’ LEAGUE.

    Better than Paul, Dwight, Lebron, Gasol, Horford.


    • WhatWhat

      For win shares, he has 7.5, good for 4th in the league…on a ten win team. Incredible.

  • AnthonyF

    Three games we have lost off the top of my head on three-pointers in the last 30-40 seconds)…. Felton (Knicks) a kind front rim, Bibby (Hawks) and yesterday Magette (again a kind rim from a 30% shooter)….. This team is snakebitten…. Enjoy competitive games and ping pong balls….

    Yes Bargnani’s game is off (I hope it is that he is playing through injuries)….. This team also needs a few days off…. How is it that Miami (an example) played Saturday vs. Raps and then were off ’til Thrusday, While Toronto played, Friday, Saturday, Monday Wednesday? Not enough that the basketball gods (soft rims), Players shoot unconscious against us (Miami three-pointers, Ilyasova, Bogut. Magette), the Refs don’t want to give us a call and love to blow whistles against us, injuries seem to be going against the Raps, but the schedule too????

  • Vik

    Did no one else see the Weems 3-pointer attempt after the timeout in OT? 17 seconds left on the clock, no one in rebounding position, hand in his face… absolutely unnecessary and a waste of a possession. To me that signalled the end of the game right there.

  • The Grey

    Anyone notice Triano looked like he was wearing a suit jacket under his suit jacket? I’m sure it was a vest, or was supposed to be a vest. But at this point, nothing would surprise me.

  • Fletchmer

    Bargs is always getting called out on his rebounding numbers but from what I see 90% of the time when the ball is in the air he is already heading in the other direction. How can you rebound if your not there. Now is this because he is told to by the coaches or is it just a stamina thing where he’s cutting corners to preserve energy knowing he can’t do both. I still believe it is a coaching issue.

    • Nilanka15

      I highly doubt it’s in the coach’s design to have our starting 7 footer leaking down the court for potential fast break opportunities. That would be straight out of the bizzaro world of coaching.

      If you’re going to leak, you send players with speed, good open-court dribbling ability, and who are poor offensive rebounders (well, I guess the last one applies to Bargs…).

      This is simply an issue of Bargnani being too lazy/unmotivated to crash the glass.

    • Theswirsky

      So he heads towards the other net while the ball is in the air, yet is always the last one down the floor? Never involved on a fast break. What does he do between ‘when the ball is in the air’ and before the ball goes over half court? Practice his defense?

      Here I always thought he was boxing out so Bosh, Evans and Amir could get the rebounds?